Monday, March 31, 2014

The great armpit mystery

We are trying a deodorant experiment.

I read this article about crusty yellow T-shirt armpits, and how they are actually caused by antiperspirant mixing with laundry detergent.  And that the antiperspirant might also cause Alzheimers and disrupt your hormones and a host of other creepy-sounding things.

Really, I was just looking for a way to salvage Nick's undershirts, but you know how Google takes you down a rabbit hole and then next thing you know you are late, late for a very important date?

But I digress. See, I always thought the armpit crud was just something men did. Like, their testosterone mixes with their deodorant and then gets swirled around by their hair and mashed into their shirts and it's just one of the gross things you have to live with if you want to live with a man, kind of like how they like to fart under the blankets and then floof them in glee in your direction.

Or maybe your husband or boyfriend doesn't do that. I don't know any women who do, and so I've always assumed that would be one of myriad positives of being in a lesbian relationship.


It turns out that it's kind of hard to find just deodorant by itself. It seems to typically be mixed with antiperspirant. And their also seems to be this movement towards clinical strength armpit stopper-uppers, which seems kind of scary to me.  I don't know.

I also did a little research on the natural kind. One friend told me that Tom's of Maine doesn't work, and another friend said the crystal sucks. Those were the only two natural-ish options at our CVS last night, so we wound up getting Speed Stick, I think it was, because it smelled OK. I'm considering ordering a couple of natural ones, though, and seeing how they go.

So, the urgency for the switch to deodorant was prompted by the following:

I took the bold step of ordering Nick new undershirts! They arrived all sparkly white and fresh and new, as you can see above.

Nick is fully on board with the experiment. He also read that we should practically be boiling his undershirts, which may or may not happen. I'm more concerned about the chemicals; he's more concerned about the crud. Our hot water is already very hot.

Also, I include this picture because people sometimes tell me that before meeting Nick, they thought I was exaggerating about how enormous he is. I know I'm not very big, but I'm pretty normal. His people are giants. I'm telling you.

I mean, yes, I exaggerate when I describe a wall of seersucker walking down the street. But...not by much. I mean, look at this jacket.

Because of this, folding his shirts is tantamount to folding sheets. I hold them by one end and fling them out and they make that same THWACK sound.

And every once in a while when I'm folding laundry, I mistake a pair of Nick's boxers for a pillow case.

I always think it's a lot funnier than he does.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Princesses don't do that

We've all been pretty enchanted with the princess castle. Jordan loves Cinderella, so he always chooses her; fortunately, India likes Snow White.

The pirate visits, as do the kids from the bus. We also have a Duplo Cinderella set, so there's a fairy godmother - or Very Godmother, as Jordan calls her - who stops in from time to time as well.  Looking through the rooms, other princesses are also represented - Ariel and Belle, for example.

So I thought about it and said to Nick, "You know what's totally ridiculous about this castle?"


"The idea that all those princesses would live happily together. It wouldn't happen. It's just so unrealistic."

"You know what I think is unrealistic?"

"That there's an elevator, but no stairs?"

"No. That there's no back to the castle. They wouldn't be able to rub one out with no back walls."

Really, Nick?

Friday, March 21, 2014

A short list of fears

Shark attack: If I'm swimming and can't see the bottom of a body of water, even if it's a river or small pond, I get panicky about sharks. This can also happen in a very large swimming pool in the dark. My breathing quickens and I have to talk myself down or get out.

Basically, Jaws scarred me for life.

Breaking my front teeth: When I walk up concrete steps, I always envision myself tripping and bashing my front teeth. I am prone to tripping, so this one isn't totally farfetched.

Flying over water: Although it's been explained to me - by engineers, even - I don't understand how planes stay up, and flying over water jacks up my anxiety. I always eat a lot and bring loads of chocolate so at least I won't die abstemious.

A friend told me that drowning is actually rather peaceful, and far preferable to dying in a fire. But you know, the ocean...see shark attack fear above.

On a related note, I am truly hoping that a Twilight Zone-esque thing happened to the Malaysia Airlines flight and that they will be found alive.

Basements: I'm not afraid of basements per se, but rather what might be lurking in them.

We rent out our basement, so effectively we don't have one. But if I was alone in my parents' house, or in Nick's condo, I'd either avoid the basement or get what I needed to get and then sprint up the stairs. Particularly at night.

Looking in the mirror in the dark: Because you never know what you'll see behind you. It would be double jeopardy to look in a mirror in the dark in the basement.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ooh, I like this one!

Is your self-esteem connected to your hair?

I think that for a lot of women this is the case.  I don't know about men. They don't seem to fret about hair as much, or anyway, not publicly.

When I was up in Vermont, Maude said something that made me realize that while my self-esteem isn't necessarily connected to my hair, my hair has historically been a mirror for how I felt about myself. And the worse I've felt, the shorter I've had it.

When I was in college, when I had gained 40 pounds freshman year and perhaps needed my hair the most, I chopped it short. And again in grad school, when I was miserable and had gained a bunch of weight, I got a pixie. By the time Maude and I were driving cross-country to San Diego, I basically had a crew cut. It was awful.

I felt ugly inside and I felt just as ugly outside. It would've been easier to have hair, I think, but I wasn't actually aware of what I was doing. I just wanted it off. Off!

And even now, when I generally feel pretty decent about myself, and reasonably attractive on a consistent basis, whenever I feel a big need to shake up something in my life, it tends to be my hair. Today's haircut is the first one that I've given significant advance thought and research to. I knew I wanted a change, but I wanted a deliberate one.

I have dyed it a multitude of colors: apricot (by accident - lesson learned: never listen to a Victoria's Secret salesperson about temporary hair dye); dark brown (very terrible); platinum blonde, both at home (not recommended, as it can skew chick yellow or purple, both of which I've done) and professionally; and highlighted blonde.

Blonde works best with my skin, as it brightens up the pale. Even though I'm not actually blonde anymore, I still have the blonde skin and the blue eyes. I love rich brown hair, particularly with blue eyes, but I don't have the skin for it.

Long hair is sexy - I don't think anyone would argue that - and if I could have luxurious, thick long hair, I would do so. I love seeing women with a rich cascade of hair down their backs. I grew my hair as long as I could handle it, and I think it stopped being attractive a few inches ago.

However. I learned that I love having a pony tail, and surely I'll go back to it.

But I think I feel best with a short, modern sort of cut. What that means, I'm not sure - but it definitely means not a crew cut, and not a chop in desperation, trying to somehow cut off the pieces of me that I hate.

It's so weird that this head covering, the styling of this extra protein that grows out of our scalps, can have such importance. Isn't it?

But it does. And I have to say, this one feels great.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Tell me something about you that people don't expect

I was about to put up this picture of me as a child in Bangladesh in my sari and matching bangles for Throwback Thursday, and then it occurred to me - it's perfect for the following:  Tell me something random about you that surprises people.

My friend Lexa posted that directive yesterday, and reading the varied responses was so much fun. So I thought I'd play it with my own friends!

What is something about you that surprises people when they learn it?

For people who don't know me well, this is surprising:

I was born in India, and spoke Hindi as well as English when I was a kid. My English was accented, and I had a terrible mouth in Hindi, thanks to my mom letting me play with the street kids.

What about you?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Conversations with a four-year-old

Asking Politely
"Mama, would you like me to poke you with this sharp little plastic thing I found on the playground?"

"I really would not like to be poked at all. Please do not poke me."

"I was just wondering if you might like to be poked."

Maria and Arjun and Steve
"Mama, is the earth bigger than a house?"

"It's soooo much bigger than a house.  It's enormous."

"How many people live there?"

"Uh.  Billions.  Way more than we can count."

"What are their names?"

"Who gave me that shirt?"

"Maude.  It belonged to Benjamin, and he got too big for it, so Maude gave it to you."

"Maude. Oh. Is she alive or dead?"

"She's alive. Why do you keep asking if people are dead, honey?"

"I just like to keep track."

Cannot Blame Him
SOBBING, crouching on top of a low bookshelf that fits under a granite counter-top

"What's wrong, sweetheart?"

"India has poo-poo in her diaper and it's stinky!"

"And that made you cry?"

"No! I was trying to get away from it and I  banged my head on the counter!"